Monday, July 19, 2010
Swiss Chicken Enchiladas
During our trip to Iowa, we visited Iowa City for the first time. Outside of Cedar Rapids, this college town (home of the University of Iowa - the Hawkeyes) is totally charming. We found a bustling downtown, friendly people, great shopping and adorable restaurants. We met Rob's cousin, Andy and his equally lovely wife, Jamie, at one of their favorite restaurants, "Mondo's Saloon". The genre of food was southwestern, the prices were astoundingly low, and the margarita's were half-priced! I imbibed in a pink grapefruit margarita - just the way I like them - not too much alcohol, a tart and fruity flavor, and ice cold. We did take a few pictures with Rob's phone, but they aren't really post-worthy.
Andy and Jamie had one of their favorites, the fish tacos. Instead of the usual tilapia, Mondo's combines salmon, shrimp and tilapia - coupled with a tomatillo salsa and cole slaw for topping. Rob ordered the flank steak enchilada, which included cubed potatoes and caramelized onions. I had the swiss chicken enchiladas which included spinach and a poblano-infused cream sauce and served on black beans. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to create my own version. Rob, chicken-hater that he is, actually really liked it. I haven't yet made it for the kids, but I'll be thrilled if they like it too. We don't have too many meals (except pizza and burgers) that we all love.
I would describe this recipe as a little labor-intensive, but it would be great to feed a large crowd or for a weekend meal when you have a little extra time. I roasted a whole chicken (mostly because I love to eat the crispy skin - don't tell anyone). I also used canned chipotle peppers for the cream sauce, for an easier version. We also enjoyed the last (?) of our green beans from the garden. It's been terribly hot here, and very dry.
Swiss Chicken Enchiladas
1 whole chicken
smoked paprika, pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder
3 cups fresh spinach
2 T butter
2 T flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 chipotle peppers (canned in adobo sauce)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1. Roast the whole chicken. I cut mine in half and laid it flat, sprinkling the spices and drizzling with olive oil. Roast at 375 degrees for 1 1/2 hours, for a small chicken (about 4lbs). Shred chicken for filling.
2. In a medium saucepan, melt butter. Add flour and stir, adding milk and stirring constantly until thick and smooth. Add cheese, more milk (if needed - sauce should be thick by the end), and 2 cups fresh spinach. Remove from heat and stir into shredded chicken. I also added more of the spices from the chicken (to taste): smoked paprika, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
3. In a small saucepan, allow cream and chipotles to simmer for 3-5 minutes. Remove chiles or puree (I used an immersion blender - be careful!).
4. Assemble enchiladas: Fill tortillas with chicken mixture and roll. Brown filled tortillas in a small saute pan (if desired) on both sides for about 2 minutes each.
5. Place browned and assembled enchiladas in baking dish. Top with remaining spinach, cheddar cheese, and chile/cream sauce. Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.
6. While enchiladas are baking, heat black beans in a small saucepan over low heat. I smashed mine with a fork for a smoother texture.
The finished product...well worth the extra time!